Hypogonadism

Robert Sterling Hollabaugh, Jr. M.D., FACS


Low testosterone levels can cause a variety of symptoms including less interest in sex (low libido), easy fatigue, lethargy, and depression. The onset is usually very subtle, often going unnoticed by the affected individual for many years. In fact, for many cases, the individual never notices the subtle changes in behavior and it is only noticed and brought to their attention by spouses or close friends.

The condition of low testosterone is also known as Hypogonadism. It occurs when your body no longer makes enough testosterone to satisfy the body’s needs. This leads to feeling fatigued, depressed, as well as having increased body fat, less muscle, diminished sex drive and difficulty with erections. Unlike women, men do not routinely go through menopause. In women, when the ovary expends all of the available eggs, a female will cease producing estrogen (the female hormone) and menopause begins. Everyone is familiar with the constellation of symptoms associated with menopause, which include hot flashes, moodiness, irritability, and diminished sex drive, to name a few.

These symptoms are due to the lack of hormone. In a normal male, sperm production never runs out and testosterone production continues lifelong. The level of hormone production will diminish, however, and the individual may notice signs consistent with a “male menopause.” While hormone production rarely stops completely, the lower levels can definitely cause problems. In addition to these symptoms, untreated low testosterone levels can lead to a reduction in bone density (osteoporosis).

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